Fresh Produce & Friendly People at TBG Farmers’ Market

What could be more pleasant on a sultry summer afternoon than sipping on a spiced ice chai while wandering around the glorious gardens and fabulous farmers market in the courtyard at the TBG?

Every participant in this unique Thursday market has a story and I’ll be telling you some of them over the next few months.

Two for Tea

Case in point: Genuine Tea, a new business run by partners Sarah Wilcox and David O’Connor who met in Whistler, BC and began traveling in the far East where they enjoyed trying different local teas wherever they went. This led to a business importing tea to Canada from all the places they visited, including China and India, while living in Taiwan for four years.

Returning to Canada, they both took a tea sommelier course and Genuine Tea became a reality. They offer 42 varieties of loose tea, with such exotic sounding names as Ginseng Wu Long, White Peony, Venus Pekoe Black tea, Organic Kyoto Cherry Rose or Lemon Mist green tea. And who knew you can choose to have your green tea steamed, pan fried or baked? Perhaps with a hint of fruit, anyone?

Sarah and David also serve refreshing organic iced tea sweetened with Ontario honey from Bees Are Life, and their tisanes (herbal teas made from infusions of herbs, spices and other plant materials) are locally blended.

“We use organic tea and fresh ingredients to make our iced tea cocktails. No syrups here,” emphasized David.

The business is going well, Sarah told me. “It’s budding,” she laughed. We do it all…the importing, packaging and selling.”

Genuine Tea can be found at stores and cafes as well as other farmers markets.

Fresh Meat, Eggs & Produce

“We like it here,” Irene from Grand River Eco Growers told me. An attendee at the TBG Farmers market since it began, Grand River offers meats, eggs and fresh produce.

“Customers ask us all kinds of questions. They want to know how the animals are fed and treated. It’s important for people to know about the food they eat.”

Fresh asparagus and mini tomatoes were the big sellers the day I was there.

Did Someone Say Baked Goods?

Another popular booth at the TBG’s Farmers Market is Marche 59 and P & H Farms from Port Hope, Ont., where trays of freshly baked goods overflow with bread, muffins, cookies, croissants, scones and colourful dried veggie chips.

“We were the first vender with P & H Farms,” Betsy Price tells me. “In fact, we were the only vender for a few weeks. We didn’t have any baking then; just produce.”

Betsy and her staff also run the Cafe in Edwards Gardens, open daily during the summer. Their most popular item at both locations is their scones.

TBG’s Farmers Market is open Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m. in the Arrival Courtyard. It moves indoors during the winter.

Article and photos by Lorraine Hunter